Homeschool Garden Club - Robin

When bird watching how do we know which birds we are looking at? One of the ways is to learn who might be visiting and what they look like. You can spot Robins all year round in our gardens.

As you may be aware I have a lovely family of robins that hang out in my garden and who entertain me for hours, I talk about them enough so you should have some ideas on how to identify robins.

A small brown bird with a red breast and a white belly. Males and females are similar in appearance, in fat it is nearly impossible to tell the difference between male and female birds as they look identical. Young birds are golden brown in colour with no red breast, the juveniles’ whole plumage is brown and finely spotted.

Despite their cute appearance, they can be very territorial and aggressive to unwanted intruders. On average, Robins live for around two years.

According to Garden Bird Watch data, which has been collected since 1995, they are most frequently seen during January in around 93% of gardens, followed by February. So we have a very good chance of seeing these very attractive birds.

Robin numbers in gardens have remained relatively stable since Garden Bird Watch began. However, they are quite susceptible to cold winters, which do tend to have a negative effect on the population.

Robins nest between March and July, and usually have two broods in a year. They typically lay up to five eggs that are incubated for around 14 days. The young tend to fledge after another 14 days. Robins will to nest in open fronted nest boxes. Size: base 150 x 120mm, front 150 x 100mm. Siting: one to three metres off ground, well hidden by thick vegetation.

What can I do to help the Robins in my garden?

Provide food: they love eating insects, fruit and seeds. Insects, especially small beetles and spiders, but they also take fruit and seeds during the winter. Ensure a fresh, clean supply of water for them. Also, put up nest boxes for them in your garden.

What do Robins sound like?

Their call is a short, sharp ‘tick’, which is often repeated. The song is a distinctive warble, that can sometimes be heard after dark under street lighting.

What predators do Robins have in gardens?

The main predator for the robin is the Sparrowhawk (scientific name Accipiter Nisus) which means it is part of the kites, hawks and eagle family group. All of which we look out for on our Walking the River Thames adventures.

History Link

Despite what you may see around the festive season, Robins are not only seen in gardens around Christmas! They are seen in gardens all year round. This species’ association with Christmas is thought to derive from the fact that Royal Mail employees, the regular Postman in Victorian times used to wear red uniforms in the winter months. They were nicknamed ‘Redbreasts’. They delivered cards around Christmas, so this is what is thought to have brought about this association.


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